Serve Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa in the summertime when vine-ripened flavorful tomatoes are available. This simple, easy-to-prepare recipe is quite delicious and can be served as the main course or side dish. They make a lovely presentation for a summer luncheon or buffet.
As you may know from my Easy Caprese Salad post, I am smitten by several varieties of heirloom tomatoes and try to use them whenever possible. But for this stuffed tomatoes recipe, look for any variety that can stand up to being hollowed out without collapsing. Any yummy but sturdy tomatoes will work just fine – including heirlooms.
Dehydrated Vegetables Option
You’ll notice that this recipe gives you the option to use dehydrated or fresh veggies. I keep organic dehydrated veggies in my pantry year round for making quinoa pilaf (or rice pilaf). Some years I dehydrate veggies from our own garden; if not I buy them from Frontier Coop. You can order them online; the 1 pound package lasts a very long time but really comes in handy! If you don’t have dehydrated don’t worry, you can use fresh.
Two Methods for Cooking Quinoa
You’re probably already familiar with the absorption method for making quinoa, but did you know you can also cook quinoa using the pasta method? Instead of cooking in a covered pan with a specific amount of water to be absorbed, the pasta method is exactly what it sounds like. You cook the quinoa in a pot that is not covered, with abundant water. The quinoa is cooked until it is al dente; until the individual grains are neither hard not soft – not crunchy, and also not mushy. Then the water is drained from the quinoa using a fine mesh strainer.
This recipe uses the pasta method; the recipe card explains exactly how it is done. This method is quick and easy and foolproof, as long as you pay attention.
- Hollow out the tomatoes
- Cook quinoa using the pasta method
- Stuff the tomatoes then top with grated cashew cheese
- Broil briefly then serve
Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa
- sauce pan
- shallow baking dish
- cheese grater
- 6 medium tomatoes
- 1 cup dry white quinoa
- 1/3 cup dehydrated vegetable mix, such as Frontier Co-op brand or 1/2 cup fresh mixed vegetables, such as small-diced carrots, onions, potatoes, and frozen peas.
- 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 ounces cashew mozzarella, such as Miyoko's Creamery brand (not smoked)
- 2 cups baby spinach, or arugula
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional, look for authentic
Prep the tomatoes
- Slice off the top from each tomato. Using a grapefruit spoon or paring knife, scoop out the pulp and reserve.
- Chop and measure 1 cup of the tomato pulp; set the rest aside to be used in a salad or other dish.
- Put the intact tomato shells onto a shallow baking dish.
Cook quinoa using the pasta method
- Rinse the quinoa, then toast if desired. Transfer to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by approximately 4 inches; add the vegetables.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water is kept at a low boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then start checking.
- The seeds will fluff up and the tail will separate when the quinoa is getting close to being cooked. Once this happens, stand at the stove and keep testing for doneness. You want to cook until the grains are al dente.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, drain and rinse the cooked quinoa.
Stuff the tomatoes, melt the cheese, and serve
- Combine the drained quinoa, chopped tomatoes, salt, pine nuts, and parsley.
- Stuff each tomato with the quinoa mixture, then top with grated cheese.
- Broil just until the cheese is melted; watch carefully. The idea is to melt the cheese, not cook the tomatoes.
- Serve on a bed of spinach or arugula and drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
- If desired, you can substitute with red or black quinoa; the cooking time may need to be adjusted.
- If you put the cashew cheese in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes it will be easier to shred.
Shred cow’s milk mozzarella over the omnivore’s stuffed tomato instead of cashew cheese.